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Fine Print Collection

Rights and Restrictions Information

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 20540-4730

The Fine Print Collection contains original prints by American and foreign artists and printmakers active from 15th century to the present (excepting Japanese prints made pre-1915). The use of images in this collection may be restricted.

Access: Permitted; subject to P&P policy on serving originals, which requires the use of digital surrogates in lieu of originals, when available.

Reproduction (photocopying, hand-held camera copying, photoduplication and other forms of copying allowed by "fair use"): Permitted: subject to P&P policy on copying which prohibits photocopying of original fine prints.

Publication and other forms of distribution: May be restricted.

Online catalog records for fine prints include all legible information found on the item related to copyright, such as the name of the copyright claimant. When such information is available, patrons are advised to conduct a copyright search to determine if a copyright was registered and is still in effect. The addresses of such parties, and an indication of the status of their works (to the extent known by the Library), are provided online on the Rights and Restrictions Information page under the artist's name.

However, many fine prints lack sufficient information to determine copyright status. Sometimes patrons can derive clues from the image itself about the artist or the printer, and this information can then be used in a copyright search. Patrons who wish to show that a reasonable effort was made to determine copyright status may wish to request a copyright search and retain any supplied report for their records.

When explicit rights information is lacking, patrons must conduct a "risk analysis" to determine appropriate use of an image. This involves coupling a knowledge of rights principles (such as duration of copyright, and the definition of "published" works) with the risk associated with the intended use (i.e. educational or commercial) and making and documenting for the user's records a decision about whether or not use is appropriate.

The Division's reference aid, " General Information about Copyright and Other Restrictions Which Apply to Publication and Other Forms of Distribution of Images: Sources for Information," found online at may be of assistance in determining the appropriate use of a fine print.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-USZ62-90145]

For more information, please read: Copyright and Other Restrictions: ... Sources for Information

Prepared by: Prints and Photographs Division staff. Last revised: Dec. 27, 2002.

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  October 22, 2010
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